Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Dream of Bushi

When we first imagined a female Pitbull to go along with our male, we "only" named her. Bushi, or "warrior" would be a perfect complement to Zen.

Despite our great hopes, in giving him his name, Zen has been a "bunctious" (rambunctious) puppy. He more clearly expresses his more formal name, Heisenberg, after the scientist. He's smarter than anyone could probably want in a dog, Smart enough to be incredibly willful and perfectly named after the Uncertainty Principle. You just never know what he'll be up to. Hint: one of his nicknames is Clepto-Puppy. As a puppy, he'd walk off with books, toilet paper, lighters, boxes of pasta from the pantry, you name it.

We put the wish out there, but we knew it wasn't time yet, and just dedicated to finding her "when the time was right." Meaning mostly when we could afford to rescue another Pitbull, and be able to pay the needed medical and shelter fees. Believe me, for a while, just feeding the family we already had was chancey.

A few weeks ago I woke up and said, "You know, I think Bushi is a mostly white dog." Now this might or might not sound silly. Up till now fate had provided us with a black (with some white trimmings) dog (Zen looks like he was born in a tuxedo), a black cat with a little "bowtie" of white (Squeaky) a black cat with smokey underfur (Raz) and three yaks, one black and two black with white markings. CK's cats were black/white except for the eldest who was grey. We had a running joke about our animals fitting the color code.

Quantum said, "I've been having the same vision. A white dog."

So a couple months went by. And one day I woke up saying, "today's the day." I got online and pulled up Petfinder. There were all of three Pitbull females listed in our area.

Okay, why a Pitbull? I've loved many dogs in my life, however every single Pit I've known has been more intelligent, loving and a better guardian than any other dog I've known. (Hey and that includes Inky, my childhood dog, a Field Spaniel who should be relegated to gods-status as Great Dog.)

On top of that, thanks to the unwarranted media nightmare, Pitbulls seem to be seen as "bad dogs".

Nevermind that it isn't true, placing a Pit Bull is harder than any other dog. We had to have a Pitty, because we had to make sure that an otherwise "unwanted" dog would find a good home.

So here we are on the day that it's "felt right" to find a Pit. Two puppies (puppies are easy to home and having lived through Zen's puppyhood, we'd promised ourselves no more puppies for a while) and one (check it out) WHITE Pittybull bitch.

"Do you think she'll feel underdressed?" asks Quantum, referring to our otherwise black-tie critters.

Underdressed? Hardly! Bushi comes to us dressed in her Ivory best. We're pretty sure she taught Lady Gaga the asymetrical makeup thing.

Just like Zen is the antitheses of his name, Bushi, our warrior princess is kind, sweet, loving, gentle as all heck.
72 hours in, today we took her to town with us, and the "pack mentality" between her and Zen and us, was comfy, safe and solid. When we got home, the two of them fell asleep head to head.

Towards evening we gave them each a beef rib bone, and wow did I get a realization. Usually Zen gnaws and plays with his bone, and a similar bone lasts for days. Bushi just plowed through her bone, and Zen, not to be outdone (or left with the only bone between two dogs) scarfed his down. The two of them chewed through their bones in less than three minutes.

Now there've been many times that Zen has grabbed me by the wrist and put a hurting on my bones. But until now I hadn't realized how much he was holding back. These rib bones were way thicker than the ones in my arms.

Later that night Something was outside the trailer. Bushi gave a deep growl. Nice to know she's feeling protective. Hoping it was a deer or elk. We've had a mountain lion sighting on the edge of our land, and the bears are certainly out of their dens by now.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bushi Day!

Note: We've been having computer challenges for the past couple months but will hopefully be posting more often.

Friday the 13th (and May 13th heretofore ) is now officially Bushi Day on the Critter Project calendar. Yesterday we adopted our second pitbull. What a fortunate day for us.

Bushi (pronounced BOO-she) means "warrior," as in Bushido, the "way of the warrior" of the Samauri.

We'd planned on getting a female Pit, as a companion for ourselves as well as for our Pit, Zen, and had already named her. Now it was just a matter of finding the dog that fit her name and our life.

She turns out to be a delicate young lady with some Pit ancestry and some that is just a guessing game. Finer boned and more terrier-like than Zen (who is definitely Boxer/heavy molosser blood) we're guessing that she may be part Bull or Fox Terrier, maybe some Heeler, German Shepherd or Lab.

After looking at her online via Petfinder, we finally got our car stuff together (more about that in a later post) and went down to the shelter to meet her. We were already 99% sure that she was the right dog. Her photos were just adorable, she was the right age (about three). We wanted a dog who would be a stabilizing influence on our "bunctious" Zen, so a slightly older dog was called for. A friend tried to pawn off a couple puppies on us, but a puppy was the last thing we felt would be right for us or Zen, and unfair to any puppy involved (too much chance of getting trod on and not safe to have puppies outdoors here yet) in the small space we're presently living in. Besides, puppies are a lot easier to home. We wanted to give space to an older, and potentially less adoptable dog.

The video (so glad the shelter included it) cinched the deal. We could see that she was calm, intelligent, friendly and responsive.

So Friday we brought Zen down for a meet and greet. We brought the two of them over to the fenced-in basketball court that adjoins the shelter. After a quick butt-sniff (the usual "hello" among dogs) they wagged their tails and then pretty much ignored each other. Zen ran back and forth, enjoying being off leash and Bushi hung out with me and got belly scratches.

After a while, I put them both back on their leashes, and gave them a walk together, while Quantum went and got the paperwork done. To my surprise, walking two of them was actually easier than walking Zen by himself. He tends to pull on the leash and sometimes goes into whirling dervish mode. With her, he was calm, focused and the two of them were beautiful together.

Turns out she was a stray, and was pregnant when she arrived at the shelter. Not sure if she was aborted or if they found the puppies homes, but she was spayed last Monday, and though still a little delicate, is coming along well. Tomorrow she goes to the vet for (hopefully minor) postpartum bleeding and her shots.

On the long ride home she lay in the backseat of the truck and was a great calming influence on Zen. On the way down, he'd been bouncing off the walls and all over the truck. On the way back, he let her pick her territory and then lay down on the seat and relaxed with his head in his daddy's lap.

48 hours later, the impact that Bushi has already brought to our household is amazing. If I ever wondered at the influence of a steady and "calm-submissive" dog, I no longer do. They walk great together, and our house
has felt more peaceful in the past 48 than any time previous.

The cats still aren't sure about her, but she's relaxed though interested, and I have no doubt that it will work well.

Bushi is intelligent and alert. Her antenna-ears are always listening, but she feels comfortable enough to be laying next to Zen, right now, with her eyes closed and having little puppy dreams. She's going to be one of those easy-to-train dogs. Eager to please and super smart. By the time we'd left the basketball court yesterday she already knew her name.

Zen, full of energy and never the most  graceful dog, had been romping around and somehow slammed into me, giving my neck a bad jar - I almost blacked out. Bushi, who barely knew me, was the first one to come over and say, "Mommy? You okay?"

One of the first things we discovered when we got home is that she was nearly terrified at being invited onto the couch. She had obviously lived in a home where getting on the couch made you a "bad dog". Yet, after a few invitations and gentle lifting up she's now sacked out on the couch next to me, and has several times jumped up on her own volition. (Now you might be of the theory that dogs don't go on the couch, and that's fine. In our household we WANT the dogs on the couch with us, and this is our choice and preference. LOL and we have little enough floor space in this trailer, that they're actually more in the way of our narrow hallway if they're on the floor.) Yet, in less than 48 hours, she's realized that it's okay to be on the couch and that she's enjoying it. Very adaptable.

While Quantum was in the shelter doing the paperwork, a woman came in and wanted a look at the available dogs. Turns out the shelter was having a big adoption special the following day. Fortunate for us we were able to make it down in time to snag our girl. The chick went into the kennel, and came back saying, "Do you have any puppies?"

"We only have one puppy, right now," the shelter-woman said, pointing out a Pitbull puppy.
"Oh, I really wanted something fluffy and a family pet," said the chick.
Quantum couldn't help adding in, "Who wouldn't want a Pitty puppy?"
The woman looked at him like he had two heads.
"They're the best family dogs for kids," he said. "Very loyal and protective."
Chickiebabe gave him a dirty look.
"You do realize that Helen Keller's dog was a Pit Bull?" he said.

The bitch left without getting a dog, but the shelter-woman gave Quantum a huge grin. She knew Bushi was going to a home that not only knew and loved Pits but would be Pit advocates.

I don't know how many times we got thanked on the way out for giving Bushi a home, but we're the ones who are thankful.